Manufacturer: Corsair UK Price (as reviewed): £79.99 (inc VAT) US Price (as reviewed):$119.99 [ (ex TAX)
All-in-one water-cooling kits have come a long way in the past couple of years. We've come across plenty in the past and they were mostly expensive, unattractive and usually highly ineffective too. Some were even worse at cooling overclocked CPUs than the relevant reference cooler – a particularly damning situation.The same can’t be said for the current crop of sealed-loop efforts though; they dominate the top of our cooling charts.
Like the H80, the H100 is compatible not only with our Socket AM3+ and LGA1155 motherboards, but also with Intel’s new LGA2011 CPU socket. It’s made for Corsair by CoolIT, a Canadian company with a long history of producing sealed-loop liquid coolers under its own name. This is a change for Corsair, as most previous models were made for it by Asetek. As you can tell from its name, the H100 resides above the H80 in Corsair’s cooling range, as it’s equipped with a dual 120mm-fan radiator – the other water-cooled models on test sport only single-fan rads.
We’re glad that Corsair has finally taken the plunge, though, as the H100 looks and feels a lot more meaty than 120mm radiator coolers such as the H80. The actual fin area is unlikely to be significantly greater, though, as the H100’s radiator isn’t as deep – a move that Corsair has probably made in order to reduce the space required to fit it, improving compatibility.
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You’ll need room in your case to be able to mount the radiator, which is still likely to be a stumbling block for most people. More cases are equipped with dual-radiator mounts in their roof these days, but failing that, there’s always the option to take matters into your own hands and turn that single 120mmm roof mount into two with some help from uncle Dremel. If you do this, though, you’ll want to make sure the tubes reach the mounts; they’re only 320mm in length and may struggle to reach in larger cases.
As with the H80, the CPU block houses the pump that keeps the water flowing around the loop. It also acts as a hub for the fans attached to the radiator of the unit. Corsair bundles the H100 with two fans but there’s the possibility of adding another two so that the four fans are arranged in a push-pull configuration, as there are four fan ports on the CPU block. You can plug the fans into the motherboard as usual if you wish, but if you do, you’ll miss out on the speed controller built into the CPU block.
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This is operated by pressing the button in the centre of the block to flick between the three built-in profiles. It’s a nice touch but it means that you’ll have to remove the side of your case if you feel you need to step up (or down) the cooling profile. The CPU block also sports a Corsair Link connection, which will allow you to connect the cooler up to a Corsair Link kit. This will allow full control of all the different settings that the cooler sports, such as fan and pump speed. This is a good idea, but it’s a little galling that you have to buy the Corsair Link unit separately, especially when Antec bundles software that allows you to do essentially the same thing with its Kühler H20 920 for free.
Mounting the H100’s CPU block is performed in the same way as the H80’s. It’s a simple process, and the instructions bundled with the cooler are also very clear, making it all the easier. As with the H80, the H100 uses the stock AMD mounting bracket if you’re installing it on a Socket AM3+ system. This is a strange choice but the fit is secure enough.
LGA1155 systems use a dedicated backplate, while LGA2011 requires just four thumb screws thanks to the awesome mounting mechanism already present on LGA2011 motherboards. As our test case didn’t have the correct mounts internally, we opted to mount it externally using a radiator box, and pass the block and tubes through the I/O panel (the plate for this is always absent in our cooling tests for practical reasons).